Inside Qonto

"My greatest success is having built a tight-knit team with the expertise to achieve our objectives!"

December 02, 2020 by Gwenn Charlot

1. What is your background before you started at Qonto? (Studies, professional experiences etc)

I studied at a post-preparatory business school, ESSEC, from 2009 to 2013. After completing my first internship at a start-up in Barcelona that sold inflatable boats online (yes, it’s possible!), I decided to continue exploring the world of marketing at Nestlé, where I learned all about launching products, developing ranges, and mass distribution. After I graduated, I was still unsure about which career path to take, so I decided to go on a exchange program in Australia, where I worked on a website project for booking at-home massages. In addition to learning how to code, I discovered through this experience a love for the tech industry.  

When I returned to France, I quickly landed my first job at 55, a data marketing consulting firm. By taking on various tasks involving web analytics, tools selection, AB testing/CRO, and acquisition and allocation strategies, I was able to climb the ladder from Junior Consultant to Data Project Lead in just 4 years!

I then went on to join a start-up, Captain Contrat, where I worked for 2 years as Chief Marketing Officer responsible for managing acquisition, content and customer retention, alongside a team of specialists in various domains such as SEO, SEA, CRM, Inbound, Marketing Automation, etc. 

Today, I work at Qonto as Head of Acquisition. My team focuses on acquiring new customers (micro businesses, SMEs and self-employed individuals) in 4 markets: France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

2. Why did you join Qonto?

I joined Qonto for 3 main reasons:

  • Its ambition: we want to become the top finance management solution in Europe. It’s a huge challenge, in terms of both its international scope and its objective to revolutionize the professional banking industry. 
  • Its mission: we aim to help SMEs to simplify and automate their finance management as much as possible. SMEs, entrepreneurs and freelancers are important, yet often overlooked, players in our economy, and helping them is critical for me, especially during this difficult time. 
  • The Qonto team: I knew a few employees who worked at Qonto, and I thought they were brilliant and really nice people. I figured having them as colleagues would be inspiring! (And it is 😉)

3. What aspect from your recruitment process impacted you the most?

Quick and smooth!
The interviews went smoothly, and I received feedback regularly from my Talent Acquisition Manager at Qonto. They monitored my recruitment process every step of the way and answered all of my questions. It was a very clear, seamless process. Also, the case study I had to complete was very carefully developed; today, I’ve realized just how closely it represents all of the issues I face on a daily basis. This helped me prepare for my role.

4. What moment stood out from your onboarding at Qonto?

A smooth process, once again! 

The first 15 days at Qonto are nothing but onboarding sessions for new staff. The schedule is packed and intense, but it gives us a chance from the get-go to have a full overview of all the different teams, processes, work methods, good practices, and more. 

I also had the chance to meet one on one with people with whom I would be working on a regular basis. Everyone was very supportive, welcoming and happy to discuss with me.

5. Tell us about what you do as Head of Acquisition at Qonto.

As Head of Acquisition at Qonto, I have 5 main missions:

  1. Lay out a vision for recruiting new customers on all the markets, which includes validating forecasts and budgets, and defining the strategy and initiatives
  2. Prioritize projects and budgets, and to assign team members to work on each project
  3. Ensure that projects are implemented properly, challenge my team on choices made and the results obtained in order to repeat, optimize or stop them
  4. Facilitate cross-team collaboration 
  5. Help every team member develop and grow

6. What are the qualities required to be a successful Head of Acquisition?

  • An analytical mind: a number of statistical analyses are required in order to determine which channels or campaigns are effective and where users stop along their purchasing journey. Plus, I am constantly reprioritizing projects based on our goals, our performance, and market developments. 
  • A team spirit: no acquisition project can be completed alone. We are always working with other teams from Communications, Sales, Design, Products, and even international teams! On a daily basis, we need to ensure the best possible synergy. We need to work together as best we can.
  • Problem-solving skills: like any manager, I spend a lot of my time solving problems (usually big, urgent problems) in the aim of improving processes, delivering quality results on time, and making key strategic decisions. Always remember that there are no problems, only solutions! 💪

7. How would you summarize your day-to-day life as part of the Qonto Growth team?

The Acquisition team starts each day with a daily meeting during which everyone shares their objective for the day. 

I also check in regularly with members from my team and other teams with whom I collaborate. This helps me see how everyone is progressing, resolve any issues if needed, and respond to everyone’s questions (organization, resources, strategy, work method, approval, etc.).

8. What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest success as Head of Acquisition?

I have two main challenges: 

  • The first, of course, is to increase the number of new customers while keeping our marketing costs down. 
  • The second is to adjust our positioning and messaging according to the prospective customers in each country in which we operate. Customers’ expectations (the arguments and features that grab their interest), market maturities, and the competition, all vary from one country to the next.

My greatest success, I am proud to say, is having built a humble, tight-knit team with the expertise to achieve our acquisition objectives, which become more ambitious with each passing month!

9. Which of Qonto’s 4 values (Ambition, Mastery, Teamwork, Integrity) resonates with you the most and why?

I would have to say Teamwork! 🤝  

I played top level basketball for more than 20 years, and I have been able to carry over those values from team sports into my management methods. In my team at Qonto, we are teammates above all, and each individual has a role to play. One player cannot win the game or championship alone, the team has to do it together (although I am a big Michael Jordan fan). It takes more than simply having the best people in each position, you also need to have synergy between members of the Qonto team.

On that point, Qonto is fortunate to have so many experts and experienced people full of great ideas and work methods, but what really makes the difference is our desire and ability to work as a team. This is what allows us to out-do ourselves on team projects, to go above and beyond what we thought possible and ultimately to create enormous value for our customers.

10. If you could speak to future Qonto candidates, what would you say?

Qonto is a crash course for all profiles at all stages of their career (junior, experienced, management). We all have ambitious goals as well as the autonomy and means (resources, working conditions, idea challenges) to reach them. At Qonto, everyone is able to grow with the company; every day, you learn new things about yourself and from your brilliant colleagues.

11. Do you have a fun anecdote you would like to share about your first days at Qonto?

I found out I was going to be a mom a month after signing on with Qonto! This is hardly the smoothest start to a new job. Of course, the team was thrilled to hear about my pregnancy and was very supportive. I was able to carry out my projects and organize my team before taking a few months’ leave. 

When I returned to work, I found a team that had honed its skills and matured incredibly well! They even organized a little party to welcome me back, having decorated our office with the Brittany flag, known as the “Gwenn-ha-du” in Breton. 😉 

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